Happy Kwanzaa from TwinStar

Kwanzaa holiday celebration with seven candles, gift box, and fruit.

A celebration of African American culture, Kwanzaa occurs annually from December 26 to January 1 and was first observed in 1966. 

American activist Maulana Karenga created the holiday to help give Black people a way to celebrate themselves and their history. Kwanzaa draws its inspiration from African harvest traditions. The word Kwanzaa is derived from the Swahili phrase, “matunda ya kwanza,” which means first fruits. First Fruit festivals are common in various parts of Africa during the southern solstice.    

Families that celebrate Kwanzaa often decorate their homes with art, African cloth, and fresh fruits that represent African culture and idealism. Kwanzaa ceremonies typically include music, readings, reflection, homages to ancestors, and libations.

Each day of the holiday promotes one of seven principles of Kwanzaa, which are:

  • Umoja (unity): Strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
  • Kujichagulia (self-determination): Define and name ourselves — as well as create and speak for ourselves.
  • Ujima (collective work and responsibility): Build and maintain community together. Make our brothers' and sisters' problems our problems — and solve them together.
  • Ujamaa (cooperative economics): Build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses — and profit from them together.
  • Nia (purpose): Make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
  • Kuumba (creativity): Do as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
  • Imani (faith): Believe with all our hearts in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

Kwanzaa culminates with a communal feast, Karamu, which is usually held on the sixth day. 

We want to wish all TwinStar Credit Union members and employees who celebrate the holiday a joyous Kwanzaa!